Whether you’re a safe, violation-free driver or a living nightmare behind the wheel, it’s a good idea to periodically check your driving record, also known as your Motor Vehicle Record, to make sure the information is correct and to see where you stand in terms of points.
If you’re a new Tennessee resident, or if it is your first time requesting a driving record, you may not be familiar with the process of obtaining one yet. To help you out, here’s a simple guide that will direct you with everything you need to know about obtaining your Tennessee Driving Record.
First, here’s a quick overview of Tennessee’s Point System.
What are Points?
Points are like demerits for moving violations. When you get your driver’s license in the State of Tennessee, it is issued with zero points attached to it. Different violations carry a different number of points, and once you hit the magic number of 12 points within a 12-month period, you will get a letter from the state informing you that you’re about to lose your license. You are given the option of attending an administrative hearing to discuss your situation. If you choose to attend, you will likely be offered a defensive driving course, which you will have to pay for, to either avoid suspension altogether or get a reduction in the suspension period. If you choose not to attend the hearing, your license will be suspended for a period of six months to a year. Here is a list of violations that earn points, as well as the number of points each will earn.
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Why You Should Order Your Tennessee Driving Record
Although rare, errors on your driving record and a high accumulation of points can haunt you in two major ways.
First, your driving history is a major factor in determining the premium of your auto insurance. Unsafe drivers who have earned points for various violations will pay more for insurance than those with a clean driving record. Knowing how many points you have earned and how many violations you have had in the past three years can help you prepare and budget for that inevitable insurance quote that makes your hair stand on end.
Secondly, if you’re looking for work and you have a poor driving record, you may not hear back from potential employers, who often use the driving record as part of a standard background check. And if the job requires driving on company time, you’re sure to miss opportunities based on moving violations in your past.
How to Order Your Driving Record in Tennessee
When you’re ready to take the plunge and see what your driving record says about your habits in the driver’s seat, you can obtain your record by mail, in person, or online.
To order you driving record online, you’ll need a credit card to pay the $7 fee. You can use your Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover Card. You simply fill out the online form with your legal name, date of birth, and Tennessee driver’s license number. Your record is issued in the form of a PDF that you can either download to your computer or print.
Order By Mail
To order your driving record by mail, you’ll need a cashier’s check or money order in the amount of $5, made out to the Tennessee Department of Safety. There are no required forms, but you’ll need to include a short note advising that you’re requesting your driving history, and include your full legal name, date of birth, and driver’s license number. Mail the request along with the fee to:
Tennessee Department of Safety
P.O. Box 945
Nashville, TN 37202
It will take up to two weeks to get your driving record in the mail.
Order In Person
To order your driving record in person, you can stop in to any Driver Service Center and bring along $5 in cash (exact change, please!) or a check payable to the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security. Make sure you have your driver’s license with you.
What to Do If You Spot an Error
If you find any inaccuracies on your driving record, such as incorrect personal information, points that shouldn’t be there, or inaccurate classification or endorsement information, contact the Tennessee Department of Safety at 615-253-5221, or call toll free at 866-849-3548.
Remove Points From Your TN Driving Record
The Tennessee Department of Safety keeps a detailed record of all the points added to your driving record. The good news is that they provide two options to remove points from your current TN driving record.
The first one falls under the Adult Points System. Here, you can take a Defensive Driving Course to reduce your license suspension time, avoid a suspension altogether, or reduce the number of your violation points.
If you’re younger than 18, you can take a Driver Improvement Program to improve your driving record under the Juvenile Points System.
If you’re interested, you can find a list of TDOS-Approved Defensive Driving Schools here. However, don’t forget that only in-person and live-stream classes are approved for the 8-hour defensive driving course in Tennessee.
To make sure that your efforts do not go in vain, always check with your court if they will accept defensive driving courses from your chosen online traffic schools first. If you decide to go online, try iDriveSafely, MyImprov Traffic School, or GoToTrafficSchool as these schools are three of the most reputable online traffic schools in Tennessee.